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I recently finished my first playthrough of Dead Rising for the Xbox 360.  I know that I’m coming to the party a little late, but after playing the game, it’s better than not turning up at all.  I can comfortably say that it was one of the most entertaining and challenging experiences on my home consoles.

Not because it was one of the best looking games or had the best gameplay, but it captured the heart of the B zombie genre without skipping a beat.  I pray to the zombie gods above that they keep that spirit alive in Deadrising 2.

There are a couple of traits that made the first game so great, and rather than build a top (insert random number here) list, I decided to use them as seques into each paragraph.  Essentially I’m cheating a bit, but you’ll get over it.  Enjoy!

Consolidation:

The one thing that makes zombies so terrifying isn’t always their looks or their number, but when you are trapped.  Every great zombie flick and game provides the person or party with no means of escape.  Frank could go wherever he wanted, and use whatever he wanted in the mall, but there was no means of reprieve (besides the security room) from the onslaught of walking corpses.

Here is where backtracking worked to the developers advantage without sacrificing gameplay.  To rescue civilians, Frank always had to make it back to the safehous, thus forcing him to fight through throngs of zombies…no matter what.  The constant pressure was one of my favorites highlights in the game, and hopefully they continue to do so in the sequel.

I would hate to get wide open desert areas.  However, Casino’s are malls where gambling occurs, so their selection for the new zombie habitat is looking good.

Over-Acting:

Before you say anything, think about it.  What makes zombified media so great?  It’s over the top!  How could you ever take a slow moving, dumb, and flesh hungry monster and have it bring anything more than terror and comedy?  You don’t, so I hope that the acting is as bad, or even worse.  SPOILER ALERT! My favorite scene was when the doctor becomes infected and begins changing into a zombie.

Not only do his gyrations look absurd, but he is trying to get his fill in on the conversation the other characters were having!  This combination leads to an old man writhing on the floor in pain, stringing together words that barely make any sense, and then dying in a dramatic fashion that rivals the death of the twins in Final Fantasy IV.  It’s the things that dreams are made out of.

Reluctant Hero:

Ok…I’m a sucker for this.  Han Solo and Indiana Jones are two of my favorite heroes of all time (don’t ask me to pick between them) and I think Dead Rising was ten times better because Frank West wasn’t always up for the mission at hand.  Of course, he always came through in the end, but he didn’t enjoy the journey there.

Hopefully, Chuck Greene will share the same sentiment.  I don’t want him to act exactly like Frank, but the reluctant hero “hook” opens up an avenue for so many kick ass one-liners.  Wouldn’t it rock  if Chuck Greene walked into a room full of zombies, holding an ice cream scoop as a weapon, calling out “Did anyone order dessert!?!”  He would then proceed to disembowel every zombie he came across, complaining whenever blood landed on his sweet yellow jacket.  I’m sold.

Quantity:

You would think that variety would have a spot in my word list, but it’s actually joined at the hip with good ole quantity here.  You see, the more weapons you have…the more variety you get.  It was so great to run around the mall and use almost everything you wanted as a tool of destruction.  However, not everything was viable as a weapon, and with a better grasp on the home consoles capabilities, it’s time to change that.

Imagine the feeling of running into an all too thick pack of zombies, and grabbing the dining table to your left and using it to barrel through them, or ripping the slot machines arm off and jamming into the closest zombie’s eye.  It made everything feel desperate in the first game and hopefully adding more weapons will do the same in the second.

Capcom has also promised more zombies, which I am excited for, but I just hope they don’t expand the playing field.  Imagine having to battle thousands of zombies…standing shoulder to shoulder!  It would go a long way in making the player feel helpless, and it would be f***ing epic.

Challenge:

The first game was no walk in the park.  Actually, you did walk in a park, but, it was full of hungry zombies and crazy prisoners in a jeep with a .50 cal.  It was tough.  The save points were sporadic, you don’t have much health, and weapons constantly needed to be recycled.  Games are getting easier and easier, but Capcom continues to pour challenge into their games; so there’s hope that Deadrising 2 will be as tough, if not tougher, than its predecessor.

No regenerating health!  Scouring for food led to some of the most intense moments in the game.

Well, there you have it.  These are some of the most important traits of the first game, and they need to find a way into the second one.  If you haven’t played the first Dead Rising, cancel your plans and give the game a shot.  It doesn’t take long to beat and there are plenty of things to do after you finish.  I’m sure after you do, you will be just as excited for the sequel as I am.

  1. Great game, looking forward to the sequel. The only thing that got to me was that some of the rescused survivor’s AI wasn’t exactly fantastic, often running themselves into giant swathes of zombies. Sigh!

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